Shri Hariharasubrahmanian

Shri Hariharasubrahmanian - Consulting Member of Technical Staff

Shrikumar is a researcher at Oracle Labs. His main research interests lie in the interplay between hardware, software, OS and cross-system integration, with a focus on improving the efficiencies of high performance communication using an approach guided by the principle of "De-Layering".

The notion of De-Layering questions a simple observation: module or layer boundaries are created just to manage a human process in the development phase. Yet, all too often, we persist them into eternity and enshrine then into the artifacts we build.

If a module corresponds to a developer, then module hierarchy reflects the org-chart, APIs separate people differentiated by skill, background or even personality. Take apart any layered software stack, bus interface and even the rectangles drawn onto silicon photo-micrographs, and you can spatially resolve within it a faithful little "group-photograph", if you will, of the actual individuals who built it. Silicon art needlessly recapitulates the societal organisation of the carbon life that created it.

De-Layering is to be mindful of this: how can we allow internal interfaces in production to either blur or evolve, while continuing to maintain the familiar modularity at the development stage? A more malleable implementation whose internal interfaces are transformed from the (anthropomorphic) APIs in the source-code into something homo-morphic to optimal graph-cuts would be a more efficient design. A tool-chain that allows these transformations to be done efficiently and painlessly can produce more long lived products.

The iPic Web-Server is a simple example of this. It was developed with an aim to break a record as the World's Smallest Web-Server, and contains a complete fully standards-compliant TCP/IP stack implemented in just 256 machine instructions. The iPic represents a 1000x reduction in software footprint, with no loss of correctness or performance. When translated into hardware, this approach also leads us to terabit scale networking engines.

Prior to Oracle, Shrikumar was a Co-Founder and CTO of Ipsil Inc (Cambridge, MA), which delivered TCP offload engines for iSCSI, RDMA and MPI applications at 10-40Gbps. He has also held research positions at the MIT Media Lab, where his research interest included Internet scaled up to the trillions of nodes, by de-layering distributed computation over ad-hoc networks of "things that think". He has an M.S and Ph.D in Computer Science, from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He obtained his BE(Hons) in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from BITS, Pilani, India.

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